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More TV Channels Increases Niche Viewing

MediaDaily News reports that Americans are receiving TV channels than ever before, but they're watching a smaller percentage of them -- especially those from broadcasters. Those are the top line conclusions from an important annual benchmark study on the way people watch TV released by Nielsen Media Research.

The report, which comes as Nielsen holds its annual client meetings in Orlando, shows that the average U.S. household received 96.4 channels during 2005, an increase of nearly four channels from 92.6 in 2004. However, the average number of channels tuned barely changed, rising to 15.4 from 15.0 in 2004. The data appears to support a fundamental principle of rising media choice: that given an unlimited number of media options, the average person will still opt to use a relatively small number.

What makes the principle especially interesting for TV, is that Americans are spending more time watching TV than ever before. During 2005, the average household was tuned to their TV 57 hours and 17 minutes per week, a huge jump over 2004, when the average household was tuned to TV 56 hours and seven minutes per week. That's up from an average of 43 hours and 42 minutes per week in 1975, the benchmark year in the Nielsen report.

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